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All the Poems Till Now

Dahlia Ravikovitch

Dahlia Ravikovich is one of the most important poets in modern Hebrew literature. Since the appearance of her exceptionally well-received first collection of poems in 1959, she has maintained her unique status in Hebrew poetry. Every new collection of her poems is an eagerly awaited event. From the start of her writing career she has been identified with the revolution in Israeli poetry which occurred in the 1950s, and her name has been mentioned together with Yehuda Amichai, Natan Zach, and David Avidan. Ravikovitch is nonetheless different, particularly in her poetic language, which is eloquent and exuberant, and rich with Biblical citations. Her language expresses the poet's repugnance with everyday matters and her longing for wonderful, distant worlds that convey beauty, infinite liberty and a happiness unattainable in daily life. The imagination plays a central role in her poetry, thanks to its power to carry the speaker to exotic destinations and different times, both historically and literarily, inspired by mythology and legend. Many of these elements appear in Ravikovitch's later works, although to a lesser extent. In more recent writings, her language is every-day, and mundane details are worthy of her poetic efforts. The significant female character in her works is romantic, passionate, ever yearning for the perfect love. But this love is also painful and destructive, with pleasures bordering on the masochistic. Her poetry always expresses a tremendous, frustrating gap between her very limited power and her feelings of denial and deprivation and her ambitions and impossible dreams, which she rarely touches on. The capriciousness and childishness characteristic of Ravikovitch's early volumes of poetry is less present in her later works. These are replaced by feelings of maternal responsibility, both in her biographical poems and in her political poems. In her political poem's, Ravikovitch breaks away from the sphere of the ego and cries the cry of the weak, of the children and the women on the "other" side with a power unequaled in Hebrew poetry.

The libation that Dahlia Ravikovitch pours is of sparkling purity and lyric freshness. Her song is both ancient and new, and it is unutterably poignant.
Stanley Kunitz 

She is a poet of wit, severe and costly, and this saves her, at least in her poems... Her language bristles with sharpness... To read these poems is to see the whole world pressed into one imperiled being, and then, through the calming maneuvers of imagination, to watch that being glide past its own squalor and smallness.
Irving Howe, New Republic




Ravikovitch’s poetry creates new music: biblical resonances in an absolutely modern Hebrew. This blazing glory never fades. Inhabited by a deep melancholy, Ravikovitch succeeds to tear off radiant moments of happiness. 

Les mondes les Livres


Engaging and intimate, her poetry is a sumptuous cry of desire and agony against the race of time. 

Selected Poems
Title All the Poens Till Now
Author’s Last Name Ravikovitch
Author's First Name Dahlia
Language(s) English, Swedish
Genre poetry
Publisher (Hebrew) Hakibbutz Hameuchad
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1995
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Kol Ha-Shirim Ad Ko